San Antonio -- The American Health Care Association (AHCA) today announced that its skilled nursing center members have lowered antipsychotic usage by nearly 30 percent nationwide. According to data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), 16.7 percent of residents in member centers were receiving an antipsychotic medication in the third quarter of 2015 compared with 23.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 -- a 29.2 percent decrease. Announced at its National Quality Summit in San Antonio, Texas, the milestone represents a faster rate of reduction and a lower rate of usage than non-member skilled nursing centers, which currently show a 27 percent decrease and 17.4 percent usage rate.
"This announcement today signals a major accomplishment not only for providers but, more importantly, for the tens of thousands of residents, patients and their families who are no longer experiencing the negative effects and toll these drugs take," said AHCA/NCAL President and CEO Mark Parkinson. "While that's good news -- and represents progress throughout just one quarter of study -- we won't stop pursuing safe alternatives that result in better care for those in our centers. I'm proud of the incredible work our members have achieved. With help from CMS and our Quality Initiative, we continue to address challenges and improve lives."
AHCA launched its metric-based Quality Initiative in 2012 and later joined CMS in supporting the National Partnership to Improve Dementia Care in Nursing Homes. In 2014, AHCA and CMS set goals to further decrease the use of antipsychotics in skilled nursing centers by a total of 30 percent by December 2016. Today, 54.6 percent of AHCA member centers have achieved the initial goal of a 25 percent reduction, while 48.9 percent have achieved the goal of a 30 percent reduction.
"We want to build upon this significant achievement," said Dr. David Gifford, AHCA Senior Vice President of Quality and Regulatory Affairs and a board-certified geriatrician. "By taking a systems-based and person-centered care approach, I'm confident that we will continue to safely decrease the use of antipsychotics. Applying these approaches will also lead to success in other quality improvement areas."
The Association expanded its Quality Initiative in May to include eight measurable targets that align with the CMS Quality Assurance/Performance Improvement (QAPI) program and federal mandates, such as Five-Star and the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation (IMPACT) Act.
Current and former leaders of CMS will deliver keynote addresses at this week's AHCA/NCAL Quality Summit, which runs through Thursday, February 11. Former CMS Administrator Dr. Donald Berwick will address sector leaders on Wednesday, and Dr. Patrick Conway, CMS Chief Medical Officer and Deputy Administrator for Innovation & Quality, will speak on Thursday.
Educational sessions and intensives throughout the event will focus on both AHCA and NCAL Quality Initiative priorities, which include improving staff turnover, continuing to safely reduce the number of hospital readmissions and antipsychotic use, and achieving CMS QAPI success.
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